Guillain Barré Syndrome


Guillain Barré Syndrome
Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is a rare condition in which a person's immune system attacks the peripheral nerves. Individuals of all ages can be affected, but is more common in adults, especially males. A majority of people recover fully from even the most severe cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, but some still fight it.

Severe cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome can result in near-total paralysis and problems breathing. In some Guillain-Barre syndrome is potentially life-threatening.

Patients affected with Guillain-Barre syndrome must be treated and monitored as quickly as possible; with some people needing intensive care. Treatment includes supportive care and some immunological therapies for a better quality of life.


Symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome can be as follows –

• Difficulty breathing

• Difficulty with bladder control or bowel function

• Severe pain that may feel achy, shooting, or cramp-like and may be worse at night

• Weakness in your legs that spreads to your upper body, near total paralysis. Children will also begin to have difficulty walking and may refuse to walk.

• Unsteady walking or inability to walk or climb stairs

• Difficulty with facial movements, including speaking, chewing, or swallowing

• Double vision or inability to move the eyes

• Low or high blood pressure - Rapid heart rate

• Pins and needles sensation (stressed) in the fingers, toes, ankles, and wrists

Causes & Risks

The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is still unknown.

• Guillain-Barre syndrome normally appears days or weeks after a respiratory or digestive tract infection.

• Surgery or vaccination can trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome. There have been cases reported following infection with the Zika virus.

• Guillain-Barre syndrome may occur after infection with the COVID-19 virus.

• In Guillain-Barre syndrome, the immune system — which usually attacks only invading organisms — begins attacking the nerves.

• The nerves' protective covering, the myelin sheath is damaged. This damage prevents nerves from transmitting signals normally to the brain, causing weakness, numbness, or even paralysis.

• Guillain-Barre syndrome can also be triggered by the influenza virus, cytomegalovirus, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and Mycoplasma pneumonia.

Test & Diagnosis

Guillain-Barre syndrome can be difficult to diagnose in the beginning stages. Its symptoms are similar to those of other neurological disorders and may vary for every person.

The doctor will recommend:

• Spinal tap - A small amount of fluid is withdrawn from the spine in the lower back.

• The fluid is tested for a type of specific change that commonly occurs in people who have Guillain-Barre syndrome.

• Electromyography - Thin-needle electrodes are inserted into the muscles your doctor wants to study. The electrodes measure nerve activity in the muscles.

• Nerve conduction studies - Electrodes are taped to the skin above your nerves. A shock is passed through the nerve to measure at what speed the nerve signals pass.


There is no complete cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome, but the two types of treatments can speed up recovery and reduce the severity of the condition…

• The liquid portion of part of the blood called plasma, is removed and separated from the blood cells. The blood cells are then put back into your body, which manufactures more plasma to make up for what was removed.

• Plasmapheresis can be beneficial by ridding plasma of certain antibodies that contribute to the immune system's attack on the peripheral nerves.

• Immunoglobulin therapy - Immunoglobulin containing healthy antibodies from blood donors is given intravenously.

• High doses of immunoglobulin can block the damaging antibodies that may contribute to Guillain-Barre syndrome, the culprit!

Living With

Learning to live with Guillain-Barre syndrome can be greatly challenging and often requires significant adjustments.

This very rare neurological disorder affects the peripheral nervous system, causing rapid onset muscle weakness, tingling sensations, and, in chronic cases, paralysis.

Individuals with GBS may even face difficulties with mobility, requiring assistance with walking or using mobility aids. The rehabilitation process can be lengthy, and individuals might undergo physical therapy to regain muscle strength and coordination.

GBS can also lead to respiratory issues and need breathing support in many chronic cases.

Emotional challenges, including anxiety and depression, can arise due to the sudden onset of symptoms and the uncertainty of recovery, Many individuals, despite these challenges with GBS, gradually improve over time with proper medical care, rehabilitation, and support from healthcare professionals and family.


Guillain-Barre syndrome affects the nerves greatly. As the nerves control the body movements and body functions, people with Guillain-Barre might experience:

• Breathing issues - The weakness or paralysis can spread to the muscles that control breathing, a potentially fatal complication.

• Most people with Guillain-Barre syndrome recover completely or have only minor, residual weakness, numbness, or tingling.

• Blood pressure fluctuations and irregular heart rhythms are common side effects of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

• Sluggish bowel function and urine retention may result from Guillain-Barre syndrome.

• Being immobile also puts the individual at risk of developing bedsores.

• A small percentage of people with Guillain-Barre syndrome have a relapse, experiencing muscle weakness even years after the symptoms ended.
Warning - BNC - Best Neuro Care
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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